Proposed Changes to Delaware’s Special Education Funds – A Call To Action!

May 28, 2015

Do you have a child with disabilities attending a Delaware public school? Then you may want to take action now, before your child’s special educational needs are put in jeopardy.

Calling All Delaware Families of Children With Disabilities!

The Delaware General Assembly is considering action that could result in the diversion of funds currently used to educate children with disabilities in our public schools. Contact members of the General Assembly’s Joint Finance Committee today and urge them not to take these funds away, so that the education of our children with disabilities is not jeopardized.

Delaware Special Education

Proposed Budget Change to Special Education Funding

The General Assembly’s proposed budget bill has language in its fine print that would allow some of the state’s school districts the “financial flexibility” to take money that is currently given to the districts for specific purposes, and instead use it for any purpose that the school district sees fit.

This is called Flexible Funding and could impact many Delaware public schools and the children with disabilities who attend these schools.

The Impact of Flexible Funding on Special Education

While some special education funds are protected from this Flexible Funding initiative, basic special education funds — the state special education dollars that are set aside for education of students with less severe disabilities — are included in the initiative and would be available for schools to allocate elsewhere.

The majority of students with disabilities in our public schools are educated with these basic special education funds.

Delaware Students With Disabilities

School districts receive these extra basic special education funds based on how many children with disabilities they report attending their schools. These extra funds were created by the state for the purpose of ensuring that students with disabilities, who are more expensive to educate, receive the educational resources necessary to help them fulfill their potential.

State budget approval of Flexible Funding will be detrimental for many students with disabilities!

Contact Your Delaware Representatives Today!

It is irresponsible, and ultimately harmful to children with disabilities, to allow schools to spend those dollars on other needs. The legislature’s Joint Finance Committee is considering the state’s budget bill right now, so we urge you to contact the members of the committee to let them know how important the preservation of special education funding is to you.

Delaware Special Education

When contacting a committee member, use the wording, Flexible Funding, to reference the special education funding in question.

The members of the Joint Finance Committee are listed below. Contact them today and voice your concerns.

Joint Finance Committee Chairs: 

Joint Finance Committee Members:

If you are concerned about the educational needs of students with disabilities, please send a letter and/or an email stating your disagreement to Flexible Funding to your representative NOW!

We Are Here To Help

Please contact Delaware Family Voices if you have any questions about the Flexible Funding issue, or would like guidance on how to have your voice heard. Our goal is to ensure the State hears all voices, and understands those issues vital to families of children with special needs.


What is WRAP? And What You Need To Know About It!

February 5, 2015

WRAP, which stands for Wellness Recovery Action Plan, is a system developed and successfully used by people with a broad range of physical and emotional challenges.

Wellness Recovery Action Plans

Individuals who use the WRAP system learn how to implement self-help skills and to monitor how they feel. This in turn enables them to take control, stay well, and most importantly, improve their quality of life.

Why is WRAP Important?

A personalized WRAP program helps teach an individual how to keep track of difficult feelings and behaviors. Once these feelings and behaviors are recognized, WRAP helps empower the individual to know when, and what, action might need to be taken to achieve a better overall feeling.

Upon execution, a well defined, individualized WRAP helps you to:

  • Decrease and prevent intrusive or troubling feelings and behaviors
  • Increase personal empowerment
  • Improve quality of life
  • Achieve one’s life goals and dreams

A better understanding of how you feel is instrumental in letting others know when you are not feeling well, which is an integral component to ensuring family and friends better understand you. WRAP can also help you achieve the ultimate goal – to improve your overall enjoyment of life.

How WRAP Works

With the guidance of WRAP certified facilitators, WRAP workshop attendees will develop personalized WRAP plans that best fit their unique needs. An individualized WRAP might include the following components:

  • WRAP ToolboxWellness Toolbox
  • Daily Maintenance Plan
  • Triggers and an Action Plan
  • Early Warning Signs and an Action Plan
  • When Things Are Breaking Down Action Plan
  • Crisis Plan
  • Post Crisis Plan

Most importantly, WRAP is developed by you – for you! You choose who will assist and support you, from family, to friends, to health care providers. WRAP is most effective when utilized and followed by the individual for whom it was intended, and can be instrumental in helping you achieve your best quality of life.

Anyone can develop a personalized WRAP to address a wide range of life issues, including emotional challenges, chronic illness, weight loss, or caring for an elderly family members.

DE Family Voices Offers WRAP Workshops

Delaware Family Voices will be hosting WRAP workshops through-out 2015. These two day workshops will be presented by Wanda Ford, our very own certified WRAP facilitator. Through Wanda’s guidance and assistance, attendees of these ground-breaking workshops will learn how to create their own personalized WRAP programs.

WRAP For Life Book

Begin taking control of your life! Attend one of our  WRAP workshops and learn how to develop your own WRAP, and to live the life you want to live. Contact Wanda Ford at 302-669-3034 or sfn@defv.org for additional information as well as the current WRAP workshop schedule.

NOTE: WRAP is a systemic concept designed to compliment other therapies. It is not designed to replace them. Read more about WRAP at MentalHealthRecovery.com.

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Images from MentalHealthRecovery.com and Sears.com.


LIFE Conference 2014 Is Almost Here!

December 30, 2013

Do you have a family member with disabilities or work with persons with disabilities? Would you like to learn more about how to help family, friends or co-workers with disabilities lead their best lives?

Life conference

Then join Delaware Family Voices and many others on Thursday, January 16th, for the sixteenth annual Delaware LIFE Conference.

What is LIFE Conference 2014?

LIFE Conference 2014 is Delaware’s largest conference devoted to the issues faced by children and adults with disabilities. The conference is made possible by a joint effort of many Delaware organizations whose primary purpose is to assist and enhance the lives of persons with disabilities and their families.

Delaware

The goal of LIFE Conference 2014 is to support persons with disabilities, provide information, and educate conference attendees in each of the following four areas:

Legislation – Learn about state legislation and anticipated changes, how advocacy can impact changes in policy, and how to access community-based long-term care services.

Independence through Assistive Technology (AT) –  Explore new applications and mobile devices, methods to increase accessibility in the home, and how to access and secure AT services.

Family – Learn how to better access medical services, why emergency preparedness is important, and about employment challenges and issues.

Education – Learn more about student to adult transition options, how to address bullying issues, and developing better behavioral assessment and intervention plans.

This one day event brings together a broad assortment of information designed to serve persons with disabilities and their families, as well as resources and knowledge to further help them live LIFE to the fullest.

The LIFE Conference 2014 Agenda:

Attendees at LIFE Conference 2014 will have the opportunity to:

  • Visit exhibitors dedicated to persons with disabilities and their families.
  • Hear keynote speaker Sharon Lewis, Principal Deputy Administrator for the Administration for Community Living, as well as a host of other individuals knowledgeable in a wide variety of disabilities needs.
  • Attend sessions on the key topics of Legislation, Independence, Family and Education.

Click on LIFE Conference 2014 agenda for complete details of the conference schedule and detailed Session topics.

Speakers at LIFE Conference

LIFE Conference 2014 Event Details:

LIFE Conference 2014 event and registration details are:

When: Thursday, January 16, 2014

Where: Dover Downs Hotel
1131 North DuPont Highway, Dover DE
800-711-5882

Time: 8:00 am to 3:45 pm

Registration Fee: $45

Registering for LIFE Conference 2014: Complete the online LIFE Conference 2014 Registration form.

Questions? Contact LIFE Conference directly at (302) 691-3187.

DE Family Voices At LIFE Conference 2014

We hope to see you there! Stop by the Delaware Family Voices exhibit and learn more about how we can help you, including upcoming training sessions and support groups.

Listen to Delaware Family Voices Executive Director, Ann Phillips, as she joins other Task Force members at the 1:15-2:25 panel session on Education: Update on State Transition Task Force. The panel will be presenting the results from the last year’s work on the Task Force, including recommendations needed to improve student-specific transition services and supports.

LIFE = Legislation, Independence, Families and Education

Will you be attending LIFE Conference 2014? Have you attended prior LIFE conferences? Share your experiences with us!

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Delaware Family Voices is a 501 C3 Non-profit organization. Consider Donating to our organization and help support Delaware families in need.

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Partners in Policymaking – Making a Difference For Those With Disabilities

December 2, 2013

Are you the parent of a child with developmental disabilities, or a young adult with developmental disabilities?

Would you like to have an impact on public policies that could impact people with developmental disabilities? The opportunity to work side by side with State public policy makers to impart positive change?

Then you might want to consider the Partners in Policymaking program.

What is Partners in Policymaking?

The Partners in Policymaking is a program designed to give a voice to parents of children with developmental disabilities and young adults with developmental disabilities, empowering them to be a part of state-wide policy changes for people with disabilities. The program’s goal is to teach these parents and self-advocates the power of advocacy, and change the way people with disabilities are supported, viewed, taught, live and work.

Partners in Policy Making

Through the Leadership Training Program, Partners learn to become community leaders, and to work side by side with State public policy makers. Partners are provided with up-to-date information, education, and the skills necessary to help make change in public policy relative to the people who need and use disabilities services.

Check out the Partners in Policymaking Brochure for additional details.

NOTE – Applications to participate in the 2014 Partners in Policymaking are due by Friday, December 20, 2013.

Who are the Partners?

Partners in Policymaking are typically parents of children with developmental disabilities or young adults who have developmental disabilities. Each year Partners are selected to participate in the program through an application process.

Families with Disabilities

There is no fee to become a Partner in Policymaking. Additionally, the program pays for participants’ lodging and meals as well as other related expenses, while attending training sessions.

What Are the Expectations of Partners?

The goal of the Partners in Policymaking program is to learn information, strategies and skills to help further state public policies that affect people with disabilities.

Partners are expected to attend each of the eight two-day training sessions. Sessions are held monthly from February through September, and run from noon Friday until later Saturday afternoon.

Topics of discussion include:

  • History of Disability Movements
  • Inclusive Education
  • Community Supports and Supported Employment
  • Vision for Future and the Planning Process
  • Assistive Technology
  • Local, State and Federal Policy and Legislative Issues
  • How to Meet Public Officials and give Legislative Testimony
  • Community Organizing
  • Working with the Media
  • Holding Effective Meetings

For more information about Partners in Policymaking in Delaware, contact the Developmental Disabilities Council at 302-739-3333.

Delaware DDC

Ready to Be a Partner in Policymaking?

Partners in Policymaking are ready to take a stand and help implement change for those with developmental disabilities.

Are you ready to become a Partner? Download the 2014 Application for Participation and submit your application today.

NOTE – Applications are due by Friday, December 20, 2013.


Medicaid Managed Care And Mental Health Calls – July to December 2013

July 8, 2013

The July through December 2013 schedule of Medicaid Managed Care and Mental Health calls is now available.

Managed Care Panel Calls

Join Delaware Family Voices, other families, and various health care professionals in monthly parent-managed conference calls on Medicaid, managed care and mental health concerns.

Through these call-ins, families and professionals work together to address questions and issues families might have regarding mental health, Medicaid, and managed care. Representatives from the Division of Prevention and Behavioral Health Services, Disability Law, Medicaid, Delaware Physicians Care Inc., United Healthcare, and other agencies will be available during the calls to personally address your questions and concerns.

Panel calls are held the second Tuesday of each month from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm, EST.

Medicaid Managed Care Calls

Do you have an issue or question regarding your Managed Care organization? This parent run bi-monthly call provides you the opportunity to ask questions, air grievances or simply listen and learn more about Medicaid managed health care.

2013 Managed Care panel call dates are:

August 13th

October 8th

December 10th

Mental Health Care Calls

The Mental Health Care Panel call address the needs and concerns of families with children who have mental health, behavioral, or emotional needs. This bi-monthly call provides families the opportunity to ask questions related to children’s mental health and behavioral needs.

2013 Mental Health panel call dates are:

July 9th

September 10th

November 12th

Participating In a Panel Call:

All panel calls start at 11:00 am EST and typically run until 1:00 pm. To join a call, follow these dial-in instructions.

Mental Health Panel Calls

Dial 1-800-391-2548
Enter Participant Code: 53192759#

You should now be connected into the call.

Do you have specific questions or concerns about your child’s Medicaid, managed care coverage, or mental health issues that you would like addressed during a call? Email Delaware Family Voices prior to the call date. This will provide us the opportunity to better address your question or concern.

For additional information, instructions on how to participate, or to be added to the call reminder list, contact Ann Phillips at annp@defv.org, or refer to the Managed Care / Mental Health Call In Flyer.

Need Help Now?

Call us! You don’t need to wait for a panel call to voice your concerns or ask for assistance. Families are encouraged to call Delaware Family Voices whenever they have medical or mental health questions or concerns. Please call 302-669-3030 and we will provide you with immediate assistance.

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Delaware Family Voices is a 501 C3 Non-profit organization. Consider Donating to our organization and help support Delaware families in need.

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Next Parent To Parent Workshop Is Almost Here!

April 30, 2013

Are you the parent of a child with diabetes, a chronic respiratory condition, or a chronic cardiac condition? Would you like to help other families with similar chronic medical issues?

Consider training to become a Support Parent and be a part of a network of families supporting families. Learn how to effectively share your knowledge and experience to help support other families who are dealing with similar situations.

Help Others – Become A Support Parent!

Delaware Family Voices (DEFV) is the only organization in Delaware approved by Parent to Parent USA  to participate in the national Parent to Parent program. Through Parent to Parent Workshops, we provide the training and skills necessary to become a Support Parent.

AprilP2PW

Once trained, Support Parents are then matched with families with similar circumstances. Support Parents help these families by providing them with emotional support and guidance as they navigate their child’s diagnosis. Learn more about the program through the following three resources: Introducing The Delaware Parent Partners ProgramHelp Us Help Parents Become A Parent Partner, and Parent to Parent USA.

Don’t Miss Our Next Parent to Parent Workshop!

Delaware Family Voices’s next Parent To Parent Workshop is just around the corner. Register now and learn more about the Parent To Parent program and how you can become a Support Parent.

When: Tuesday, May 7th
Time:  9am – 2pm
Where: Easter Seals Building- 61 Corporate Circle New Castle, DE 19720

A light lunch will be provided and child care reimbursement is available.

Kindly RSVP by May 3rd  to Ann Phillips at (302) 221-5360 or annp@defv.org. Class size is limited.

Please call Delaware Family Voices at (302) 221-5360 with any questions.

Hope to see you at the workshop.

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Delaware Family Voices is a 501 C3 Non-profit organization. Consider donating to our organization via United Way #12691.

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Image from Parent to Parent USA.


Brain Injury Across The Lifespan – A BIAD Conference

February 28, 2013

Do you or someone you know, have a brain injury? Would you like to learn more about the latest brain injury information, connect with others experiencing similar situations? Consider attending the 22nd annual Brain Injury Association of Delaware (BIAD) conference, Brain Injury Across The Lifespan, April 4th and 5th, 2013, Wilmington DE.

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Doug Smith – Featured Keynote Speaker

Listen to keynote speaker, former NHL player Doug Smith, as he recounts his recovery from a broken neck and spinal cord injury. Learn how he fought back from quadriplegia to walk once again.

All registered attendees will receive a copy of his book, The Trauma Code. Doug will also be hosting the workshop, Internalizing Your Performance, during the conference breakout sessions.

2013 Brain Injury Conference Schedule

The conference will begin the evening of Thursday, April 4th, and will conclude Friday evening, April 5th, with the Diamond Dinner. The specific dates and times of events are:

– Thursday, 7:00pm to 8:00pm – Mix and Meet Reception

– Friday, 8:30am to 4:00pm – Brain Injury Conference

– Friday, 6:00pm to 9:00pm – The Diamond Dinner

NOTE Change of Conference Location: All activities will be held at the Doubletree Hotel, in downtown Wilmington. The exact address is 700 N. King St., Wilmington, DE.

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BIAD Conference Breakout Sessions

Choose from the following breakout sessions running through out the conference on Friday:

Child/Teen Track: Sessions on Interactive Metronome, Recreation after a Brain Injury, and Brain Injury and Child Abuse.

Mid-life Track: Sessions on Rational Psychopharmacology, Technological Recovery Tools, and Delaware Rehabilitation Services.

Elderly Track: Sessions on Vision, Concussion, and TBI.

Quality of Life Track: Sessions on Harnessing Your Passion after Brain Injury, Internalizing Your Performance, and Sibling Life.

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BIAD Conference Registration Details

There is a fee to attend the conference. If registering by March 31st, survivor, family member and student fees are $40 for BIAD members and $65 for non-members. The BIAD member professionals fee is $75, $100 for non-members. After March 31st, registration fees increase to $90 for survivors, family and students, $125 for professionals.

Need assistance with the registration fee? A limited number of scholarships are available for individuals with brain injuries and family members. Contact BIAD for details at 1-800-411-0505.

Need a hotel room? Reserve a room at the Doubletree Hotel by March 1st to receive the discounted conference rate of $109. Call the hotel directly at 302-655-0400.

Learn more about the conference and how to register in this flyer.

Conference Questions? Call BIAD at  1-800-411-0505.

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A Healthy Life Without Limits

Don’t forget to also attend the Healthy Life Without Limits health fair on Saturday, April 6th, for families and children with special health care needs. More details about this partner event can be found at A Healthy Life Without Limits.

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Delaware Family Voices is a 501 C3 Non-profit organization. Consider donating to our organization via United Way #12691.